Some years ago, it was almost every person's dream to work from home, while those who stayed back in the office considered it a luxury. I remember some scenes as if it was yesterday, where some debated, begged or negotiated their way through to working from home.
Today, a number of articles are suggesting a rise in depression amongst those working from home. Just pondering on this, I could see some reasons why. For starters, there's the dynamics at home. Work provided an escape to many. At home, your work colleagues are unable to share a coffee, compliment or gossip.
In reality, many are working harder and longer (save for furloughed staff) because they are now bogged down on their computers in a room with little or no interaction and working at ungodly hours, because there's no one to remind them that the office is now closed! There's the sinister part to this too, where staff tend to want to prove themselves in order to save their jobs.
In my experience of working at the office, I really enjoyed dressing up, making the 1 hour journey to work and interacting with so many people, even if that sometimes meant sandwiching my way between commuters. Oh, and while i have noticed that I can save money from not buying makeup and new work clothes, I find that well there's the boring joggers and the rough looking hair that gets a quick brush if there's a Zoom meeting.
If you have children, this adds another layer to the issue. The responsibility never ends if you are at home. They may not understand why they need to be quiet or stop disturbing you. That in itself could be extremely frustrating when you want to get your job done. Oh and get this, while you could have ignored things because you are out for 7 or more hours, suddenly you notice the stain on the carpet and the dust on the TV and might want to do something about it!
At the office, I think that there's some kind of self discipline when it comes to snacking. You wouldn't want to be considered a greedy so on so, but there's no limit at home! You can eat your way thorough the cupboards and restock before the kids come home.
How's that for mental health? Mindfulness plays a key role if we are to be strong in all this.
- Being mindful of the gradual changes in your behaviour, your thoughts and actions is a good place to start.
- Taking 15 minute breaks just to breath some fresh air helps too.
- Doing some breathing exercises helps rejuvenate the mind and body. Start by slowing down your breathing. Count each breath as you visualise the air coming in through your nose and spreading slowly in vivid colours through your body. Wriggle your fingers and toes. Repeat this 5 times. On the last occasion, hold your breath and visualise it filling up your brain and washing away tension.Repeat this as often as you need it
Being present also helps us to accept reality. The reality is that life has changed and will continue to change. Embracing those changes from a self-loving standpoint helps us to adjust. It won't be easy, but caring for your mental health makes a difference to our daily lives and interractions.
I am Liz Volney, a Counselling Therapist, Coach, Reiki and Sekhem healer. You may reach me at thereapyandhealer.com or on my IG page, therapyandhealer.
Take care of yourself.